FAA Gets Its New Virtualized Flight Plan System Off the Ground - Page 2

Security Improved by Separate Portals

Security for the new FAA system is connected to an NAS-approved security gateway, McNeill said.
"The system has a limited numbers of Internet access ports to the NAS system. We will keep the system inside one of their approved security gateways," McNeill said.
"Our biggest use of virtualization is that it allows us to install one physical server, then provision services across that server in a much faster manner, without having to do any modernization, upgrades or hardware installations," McNeill said.
To do maintenance on the old Phillips mainframe, the entire machine had to be taken down, with all the functions being transferred across the country while the mainframe was offline. The FAA will have a lot more options now.
"Additionally, we can support multiple service requirements and keep them all isolated from each other," McNeill said. "We can run one virtual machine for generic TCP/IP users, we can have another VM for international connections, and then we're having discussions about other agency services that have external data requirements. This allows us to provision them in a quick time frame and keep them isolated from each other in terms of data flow."
Virtualization a Real Cost-Saver
Virtualization erases much of the cost and time used in replacing a physical server, McNeill said.
"It's travel to a facility for a hardware installation, power modification, training-it's very costly and time-consuming to have to do all that," McNeill said. "Now with this common server using virtualization, we can have a template for an operating system and provision a new service in days, requiring no facility upgrade or travel."
All the data that gets ingested into the non-FAA portal and servers gets ported into the main system's back end, where it is processed and used in production, McNeill said.
This new Stratus virtualized system is basically a new front end for all the FAA's service providers, McNeill said. Pilots will not file their own flight plans any longer; general aviation pilots will file their flight plans through a service provider or a flight station. Pilots for airlines and private air services employ service providers around the world to send the flight plans through the non-NAS server into the FAA system.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...